Photo: Frank Vincentz, [GFDL or CC-BY-SA-3.0], Wikimedia Commons

Witten: Bommerholz

The first thing people connote with coal mining in the Ruhr region are the large mines such as Zollverein in Essen and Zollern in Dortmund. However, the Ruhr coal mining industry was born in Witten’s picturesque district Bommerholz-Muttental. As far back as in the Middle Ages, farmers would surface mine for coal on a small scale to meet their private consumption needs. This form of mining was carried out just beneath the surface in small holes, many of which are still recognisable because of their characteristic surface shapes. In the 18th century, adit mining was taken up. Walking along a circular route through the forest, visitors can view those mines and their precursors, and read up the relevant information about mining history on information boards.